Recruit Face-Off

Noah Cottrill and Perry Henry put on a show as their teams battled in a showdown at the Charleston Civic Center on Tuesday evening.

Noah Cottrill, a November signee with West Virginia, didn't start the game due to his refusal to re-enter Logan's previous game against Charleston Catholic. A broken thumb that he suffered against the Irish may also have contributed to his absence from the lineup, as he noted that the option to play was "a gametime decision."

Against Catholic, Cottrill was hit on the hand while taking the ball up to the basket, and after getting it checked out by a doctor, wasn't even sure that he would play against Henry and South Charleston. However, after sitting out the first three minutes, he entered the contest and dazzled the crowd with his usual array of pinpoint passes and frenetic drives to the basket. After missing a couple of shots early, Cottrill warmed up, and capped his game with a long three pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter which gave the Wildcats a 51-36 lead.

Logan ended up hanging on for a 73-30 win, but for Mountaineer fans, the focus was on Cottrill and South Charleston standout Perry Henry, who is also a WVU recruiting target. Cottrill showed his usual shooting range, but it's his passing and creation off the dribble that have WVU fans excited about things to come. His court awareness is off the charts, and he repeatedly finds teammates open, both in transition and off set plays. He throws every sort of pass imaginable, from every angle, and he sets up teammates well.

Cottrill has a feel from the game from the point guard that is difficult to teach. It's an innate ability to see a move or two ahead and create scoring chances for both himself and his teammates. For example, in the second quarter, Cottrill came downcourt with teammate Paul Williamson to his left and a defender in between them. Cottrill could have simply passed the ball to Williamson, but instead he first made a slight move to draw the defender toward him, thus creating more room for Williamson to shoot. One crisp pass later, Williamson drained an open three that wouldn't have been so open without Cottrill's set-up move. It wasn't a huge thing or a great move, and certainly wasn't the most eye-catching of Cottrill's drives or dishes. But it was illustrative of the kind of ability he will bring to WVU next year.

Henry matched Cottrill's total of 26 points and helped fueld a South Charleston rally that brought the Black Eagles to within three points late in the game. Henry is a smooth player who is at his best taking the ball to the basket. He scored on several drives where he hung in the air and scooped the ball up and around defenders, and also got to the offensive boards for rebounds and a couple of second chance baskets. He is not yet the accomplished three-point shooter that Cottrill is, but he has good form, and when he gets his feet set and elevates he can knock down the three-pointer. He is very quick on defense, and gets his hands into passing lanes for deflection. He's also able to strip the ball cleanly from opposing dribblers, and could be an outstanding defensive player on the college level.

Henry continues to debate a possible college career in either football or basketball, and has another year (at least) to make his decision. With offers from WVU, Xavier, Akron and Marshall, the South Charleston star already has some solid programs from which to choose.

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